New to Quest Five?
The stories are best enjoyed when read in order beginning with May 1, 2009.

Welcome To Quest Five
Allison Beaumont is having trouble finding a job after college until one day the wealthy and powerful Joseph Candle offers her a job at his rather unusual corporation, where mistakes can lead to bare bottomed spankings. Adopting the alias of Virginia West, she joins four highly skilled colleagues, racing around the globe in search of mysterious treasures, but wherever she goes, trouble is sure to follow.
Note: Some stories contain scenes of a sexual nature, corporal punishment, non-consensual corporal punishment, and strong language which some reader's may find offensive. If you feel this material might be inappropriate for you please move on to another blog by clicking the next blog link at the top of the page.

September 16, 2009

Breaking Free: Elemental Plans

When Dr. Michaels returned I was sorting through the myriad of scrolls on the table, having entirely given up on the pretense of resting. Tom, eager to do anything, was assisting me even though neither of us could make heads or tails out of the writing. I was looking for something like a map or diagram that might be more universal in our ability to comprehend. I had just found something that looked promising when the door clanked open and Dr. Michaels entered followed by a couple of guards.

He looked tired and his eyes were red as if he'd spent the last several hours straining to read. No doubt he probably had spent them in some such fashion. The guards didn't wait around very long before slipping back out the door and locking us in. Kyra got up from where she'd been resting on the floor against the wall and walked over to him with a mixture of concern and relief obvious on her face.

"I'm fine." Dr. Michaels said, gruffly waving Kyra off. "Just a little tired."

"What happened?" Tom asked.

"They wanted me to review their translations of some Mayan writings." Dr. Michaels said.

"Mayan? I thought this whole thing was of Chinese origin." I said.

"You are correct so far as I can determine but there seems to be some connection between the cultural stories surrounding creation. Our hosts seem very interested in the astrological observations in the Mayan text, perhaps it is an example of independent parallel development or there could be a connection between early development in Central America and China." Dr. Michaels said.

"What do the astrological observations have to do with anything?" I asked.

"If you recall I mentioned a planetary alignment as a condition for entering the vault." Dr. Michaels said. "The Mayan text mathematically describes the alignment and it's significance to the beginning of life."

"Like a starting position?" I asked.

"Something like that." Dr. Michaels said.

"Was there anything to explain how the alignment might effect the vault?" Tom asked.

"No, in fact I've come up with nothing that explains why the alignment is necessary at all. I suspect it is simply a way of marking time." Dr. Michaels answered.

I returned my attention to the scrolls on the table. While Dr. Michaels information was interesting in many regards it was relatively useless in our effort to plan an escape. Whereas the scrolls in front of me, particularly the one with the diagram, might provide a way to plan out an exit.

"Have you seen this?" I asked.

Dr. Michaels stepped closer to me and leaned over to study the scroll closer. He squinted at it for a minute and then rubbed his tired eyes before yawning. He shook his head to the negative while Kyra gave me a look that said, "leave him alone."

"If you could just verify this is what I think it is, I'll let you get some rest." I said.

Kyra was clearly about to object, but it was a look from Tom that clearly caused her to rethink any interference. She settled on an annoyed stare which got me to wondering about the relationship between her, Tom, and Dr. Michaels. Are they all just friends and coworkers or is there something more between them? A question best saved for another time and place I decided.

"What do you think it is?" Dr. Michaels asked.

"A schematic of the vault." I said.

Dr. Michaels leaned over the table and studied the scroll for another moment, grunting to himself as he traced lines with his fingers on the parchment. Finally, he straightened up and looked back at me.

"It's not exactly a schematic but it's a warning regarding the various traps within the vault to prevent unwelcome intruders." Dr. Michaels said.

"Thank you." I said. "Get some rest. I don't think we have very long before they'll be escorting us to the entrance."

"No more than four hours." Dr. Michaels said.

I almost asked him how he knew that, but decided it didn't really matter. He took a seat on the floor, leaning up against the wall and Kyra settled in next to him. Tom eyed the two of them for a moment and then came to stand closer to me, focusing his attention on the scroll.

The drawing depicted a complex maze of tunnels, several of which came to apparent dead ends. They seemed to connect two larger rooms to each other, but unless the depiction was unclear, it seemed there was only a single correct path. The dangers along the way were indicated by pictographs which, while not completely obvious, seemed to adequately describe the existence of a threat.

"What do you think?" I asked.

"It's all guess work without knowing precisely what these symbols mean." Tom said.

I nodded.

"I think I've determined a few of them." I said.

Tom glanced over at Kyra and Dr. Michaels.

"We could really use his help on this." Tom said.

"I can't argue with you but if he doesn't get some rest none of it will matter anyway." I said.

"This is precisely why I keep telling Joe the team needs more endurance training."

I laughed, remembering my training camp experience which was almost as bad as our current situation.

"Seriously. The two of us are the only ones functioning and we've been through just as much as they have." Tom said.

"We just don't have anything to do." Mark said.

I hadn't even noticed him get up to join us, but there he was standing right next to me on the other side from Tom. I glanced around and saw Gina was still sitting on the floor. Far from sleeping though, she looked utterly bored. Mark looked at the scroll rather than staring at Tom but I could feel there was tension between them.

"I think this symbol indicates a lock or entrance." I said, pointing at it on the scroll.

Mark studied it for a moment while Tom shook his head in what appeared to be disgruntled frustration with the situation.

"Makes sense." Mark said.

"Good." I said.

"This one looks like it has something to do with water or possibly wind." I said.

"It could also be light." Tom said.

"No, the lines are wavy which is more indicative of water. Light was customarily represented by an arc of straight lines." Mark said.

I nodded. I recalled seeing something similar in regards to Egyptian hieroglyphics.

"So your saying we'll be facing a danger related to water or wind in the first large chamber?" Tom asked.

"I'm not certain." I said. "But Dr. Michaels indicated the culture that built this was obsessed with the balancing of the four natural elements. These symbols seem to correspond with those elements and I don't think that's a coincidence." I said.

"It could be nothing more than equating the areas with a particular element because it's found in the room." Tom said.

"It's possible." I conceded.

"I don't see how any of this is going to help us when we don't even know what it means." Tom said.

His frustration was coming out in his tone and I had the feeling he was ready to pummel somebody just to let it out. Unfortunately, none of the guards were around and it wasn't helping anyone for him to take it out on any of the rest of us.

"Take it easy Tom. We might not know what all this means now but the more we study it the better chance we'll have of understanding it all when we're inside." I said.

"Give me an infrared scan, a satellite image, anything but this antique drawing that doesn't have any sense of scale or accuracy. I can't plan an escape with this crap. We'd be better off to take our chances here and now." Tom said.

"There are way too many of them and we don't have any weapons. Our best bet is like V says, in this vault. From what we can see here it's got all the distractions and weapons we'll need." Mark said.

"Big surprise you'd be agreeing with her." Tom said.

The two of them were starting to square off against each other and the testosterone in the air was getting thick enough to smell. Mark looked just as likely to take a swing at Tom as the reverse was true and it occurred to me there had to be something more between the two of them than me. Whatever was, it was going to have wait for another time and a much better place.

"Jack's not here, right?" I said.

I looked around the room, emphasizing my point while making sure Tom knew I was addressing him.

"We covered that already." Tom said.

"Right and last I heard, in his absence I'm in charge of this team, Mr. Clark. So we're going to do this my way, whether you like it or not. Understood?" I said.

Tom's glaring eyes finally shifted from Mark to me. I gathered he didn't like my tone nor the words coming with it, but he was a military man. Chain of command was something he respected and I was banking him to honor that respect as soon as I made it clear I was commanding rather than asking.

"You're in charge Miss West but you'd be foolish not to take my advice. I'm trained for these kind of situation and quite simply, you're not." Tom said.

"That's why I'm asking for your help, but I'm not going to risk all our lives on a half cocked escape plan that serves your ego more than any semblance of logic." I replied.

He wanted to argue with me. I could see it in his jaw, his shoulders, and most of all in his eyes, but he didn't. Instead he gritted his teeth while an internal war raged behind his angry and stubborn eyes. Fortunately, Mark knew to keep his mouth shut although a glance at him told me he was feeling pretty smug. I had plenty to say about that but considering the situation and how Mark had so far managed to play along where he didn't have to, I decided to keep my thoughts to myself.

"You're right." Tom said. "I don't like it, but our best chance is either on the way to the vault or once we've entered it."

"Then let's get back to this. It's not perfect but even if we get some of this wrong right now we might figure it out once we're there and knowledge could well be our best weapon for escape." I said.

Tom nodded. Mark smiled. I stepped between the two of them and hoped they would put aside their personal issues with each other at least until we were free. Gina joined us at the table with a tired smile on her face. Her mischievous eyes glanced between the three of us and I could tell her journalistic mind was running at full steam.

"So V," She said. "Did you really ignore orders and find that compass thingy all on your own?"

"This is hardly the time for an interview." I said.

"You'll get us out of this and what better chance will I have to get the story of my career than right here with all you trapped in the same room?" Gina said.

"I'm sure you'll manage without it." Tom said.

"Just like you'll manage to take orders from the newest member of your team." Gina said.

"Maybe you should go back to hiding in the corner." I suggested.

"Seems like there is more going on over here." Gina said.

"I could carry her there." Mark offered.

"I'll help." Tom said.

"That's better. I like to see us all working together." I said.

Mark and Tom both moved toward Gina and I stayed back enjoying the show. She backed away realizing they were quite likely to pick her up for real. The slight panic on her face was definitely worth the slight waste of time. Although her method was unorthodox I did appreciate Gina's manner of lightening up the tense mood.

"It's alright fellas I'll just leave you to your planning." Gina said.

Mark and Tom each grabbed an arm anyway. I couldn't help but laugh as they lifted her off the ground and carried her back to the wall from whence she had come. Gina was a good sport although she did get in a little kicking, squirming, and a couple of ear piercing screams before they landed her, not too softly, on the floor.

As they backed away from her and the shocked expression on her face, Tom wagged his finger at her like a parent scolding a toddler.

"Now stay." Tom said.

All the tension in the room had drained away by the time Tom and Mark rejoined me. The diagram of the vault returned to the center of our focus and there were no more complaints about our ability or lack thereof to understand the symbols. I had an advantage in that area anyway, having had a glimpse of the place in my vision, dream, possession, or whatever the hell else you want to call it when that little girl visited me.

The first large room was clearly where the army of clay soldiers was waiting for us. The symbol indicating water or wind in that room was confusing to me in that regard, but without revealing my experience with the little girl I couldn't very well discuss it with anyone. Discussing the little girl was the last thing I wanted to do because if they didn't think I was nuts already, that little revelation about a girl who was and wasn't there, would definitely ensure they did.

What I was still looking for was the exit the little girl had said was at the end of the tunnel leading up and away from the second large chamber. If she was wrong about the exit, and I had no reason to trust her, then following her instructions would trap everyone except myself inside the vault. The maze of tunnels was difficult to track by alone and so I started tracing them with my finger until I found the one that reached a split like I had seen. Tom's finger was tapping on the spot where it ended and I brushed it aside causing him to jump a little but beneath his finger was the symbol I'd been looking for; The one that matched the symbol at the entrance. Just maybe my imaginary little friend was right. If the symbol marked an entrance it might well mark an exit too.

"That's our way out." I said. "Before we get to this split we have to lose our guards and then we'll be able to reach the exit up here."

"What stops them from following us out?" Tom asked.

"The vault's own traps will do that for us." I said.


  1. Ashley, OK, so far so good, you still have my attention.
    I'm definitely enjoying this.
    Warm hugs,

  2. I know it's a little dry and slow through here, but things will pick back up very soon. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

  3. No worries Ash. I think most people understand the setup is important. It gives something to look forward to. If you have action and car chases every chapter it will end up being boring in a bad way.

  4. Ash,

    Okay enough with the set up get with the action already LOL. Just kidding doing a good job am enjoying it so far